Hours after the FFA announced the extended suspension of the A-League, Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has revealed the concerns the owners have for Fox Sports continued support of the league.
In an expansive radio interview with Sportsday WA, Sage revealed several key issues facing the future of the Australian top-flight such as the relationship between the A-League and Fox Sports, the timeframes involved in the A-League's resumption, the future of Glory, how professional sport will look, player stand-downs and a possible hub location should A-League fixtures resume.
Earlier in the day, the FFA confirmed that though it would seek to return the competition as soon as possible, a number of criteria that needed to be satisfied before a firm date for the resumption could be set and any return would be dependant upon sign-offs from Federal and relevant State Governments.
It is not clear if Sage was speaking individually during his interview with Sportsday WA or if his views represent those of the wider group of A-League owners.
“We’re still in limbo regarding the broadcast partner,” Sage said.
“At this stage, we are all in the dark as owners… the FFA as well. What people have got to understand is that the FFA have the contract with Fox, not the owners or the A-League itself.
"It’s just the FFA. So, the FFA are in negotiations, really have been for the last two or three weeks to find out exactly where we stand.
“We haven’t received our distribution from the broadcast, which we always get on the 15th of every month. So that hasn’t been forthcoming. We can’t say it won’t come but the FFA have not yet received it from Fox.
“All the clubs want to finish [the A-League season]. We want a premier, we want a finals series – it’s imperative also for the Asian Champions League – we want it to happen. It hasn’t been able to happen because of border closures etc, they’re government restrictions.”
Previous reports had also indicated that, although the relationship between the FFA and Fox Sports has come to resemble something of a cold war.
The competition reportedly had until July 31 to complete its season without being in violation of its contract. The FFA has reportedly made contact with renowned barrister Bret Walker, SC to aid them in any potential legal stoush.
Sage, however, said differently on the timelines involved with delivering the league.
“We have to complete our season under a contracted period by the end of May," he claimed.
"Ours is a little bit different from the AFL and NRL, because their seasons have just started. Ours finishes and the contract period is the end of May, so we’ve got to really get on our bike.”
That seemingly sits at odds with the statement made by FFA CEO James Johnson earlier in the day, who had earmarked late May as the likeliest starting point for the process of the A-League returning.